Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women

Kay Sekimachi

Nagare is the Japanese word for flow or river, a reflection of Kay Sekimachi’s intuitive weaving style. She first learned the fundamentals of weaving in the early 1950s at the Berkeley Adult School with the goal of fashion design. Her courses with Trude Guermonprez, a weaver trained in the German Bauhaus-style that combines art and design, at the California College of Arts and Crafts shifted the course of her career by opening her eyes to the artistic possibilities of weaving. Inspired by the structured elegance of calligraphy, origami, and lacework, Sekimachi created hanging sculptures with a multi-layered weaving technique. She situated her work at the forefront of the fiber arts movement by dressing her loom with monofilament, or fishing wire. The modern material allowed her to shape each woven layer by hand to create the natural effect of a rippling stream.